So many heroes, so little time.
Recreating a popular franchise in LEGO form has been a surefire winner for TT Games. Over the years, they have perfected their formula into an all-action, often funny, romp filled with bricks to collect, puzzles to solve, bad guys to fight and new characters to unlock. Through Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean and Batman, TT Games have sharpened the games to a point that everyone knows what to expect from the next title, and fans of the games are never disappointed.
So, beside the subject matter, what can the latest game, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, really offer that has not been seen before? Well, how about pure nerd joy?
The LEGO games are well known for their vast roster of characters that can be unlocked and used to replay previous levels, or to wander around the games central hub. However, never before has a LEGO game seen such a large collection of very different characters, all lovingly re-created in their slightly humorous LEGO form for the players to enjoy. Seriously, any fan of the Marvel super hero comics will likely wet themselves over this line up. From the well known and recently immortalised on the big screen characters such as Iron Man, Captain America and Wolverine, to the lesser known heroes, and villains, such as She-Hulk, Black Panther and Vulture. Hell, you can even play as everyone’s favorite Merc with a Mouth Deadpool or Stan Lee in some versions.
The real magic comes in the way that this massive roster of heroes has been recreated though. There has been no laziness on display here, as each of the characters brings with it moves and mannerisms that can be found for those characters in the comic books. It makes it a true joy to try out each of the different characters when possible, watching their moves with anticipation. Marvel’s influence on the creation of the characters is obvious and playing the game is very much akin to immersing oneself into a good Marvel comic story arc, albeit a light-hearted one. Let’s face it, the LEGO games are nothing if not family friendly, so expect the moodiness of Wolverine and the ultra violence of Deadpool to be toned down to zero. Don’t want to scare little Billy with Deadpool’s tumor-covered face, do we?
The playable character list is further bolstered by the introduction of a new type of figure – the Big Guys. These oversized LEGO figures, which really stand out by the way, include the likes of Hulk and Rhino. They dominate the scene whenever they are involved and, handily for a game that includes so much brick-smashing combat, cannot be harmed by regular sized figures, making them perfect crowd control.
There is a lot of combat in the game, which generally amounts to nothing more than an extended button mashing session. But having so many characters with different moves keeps the combat fresh and exciting as the player tries out and discovers new ways to break the enemy down into little bricks.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes follows the format set by LEGO Batman 2 with a huge, open-world central hub, only this time it has moved from the moody Gotham to the much more upbeat New York City and the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier which is floating above. As always, the hub offers plenty to do when the player wants a break from the main story missions. Besides exploring at leisure, there are little challenges and missions that can be picked up to further extend the playing time and give the player somewhere to try out their newly unlocked characters. The very fact that all of this can be enjoyed in local split-screen co-op, something which I always love in a game, only sweetens the LEGO-filled pie. Playing the LEGO games in co-op has become something of a tradition.
When it comes to the main story itself, players can expect a roller coaster ride featuring more heroes and villains than Hulk could shake Loki at. It all begins with Silver Surfer being knocked out of the sky by some unknown force and his surf board being broken into pieces. These pieces, which are apparently Cosmic Bricks, hold immense power and it is not long before Doctor Doom employs the help of various villains to gather them up to create Doctor Doom’s Doom Ray of Doom. With a who’s who of Marvel villains hunting these bricks, Nick Fury calls in the help of various super heroic teams for help.
It is with this mission in mind, get the bricks and stop the bad guys, that players will find themselves traveling to plenty of well known Marvel locales, such as the Baxter Building, home to the Fantastic Four, and Oscorp Tower. They even head off world at times, visiting Asgard among other places, in their never ending quest to stop the bad guys. Wherever the game takes the player, it is guaranteed to look authentic, albeit made of LEGO, and raise a smile on the face of any Marvel fan.
As is usually the case, the story progresses through plentiful combat and the occasional puzzles. These puzzles tend to involve using a certain characters ability, but with so many different characters in the game, the puzzles never really get old and the solutions are not always as obvious as they have been in previous titles. It’s interesting, especially considering that the tone of the game is aimed even more at younger gamers than before.
It is difficult to find fault with a game that is as enjoyable as LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. However, there are some long standing issues that still seem to be carrying over from previous games. The flying mechanic, which is relatively new to the series, is still haphazard and difficult to control. And the camera still doesn’t always play ball. But these really are minor complaints – I can live with occasionally crashing into buildings or not being able to see the action properly when there is this much fun to be had.
LEGO Marvel Super heroes doesn’t leap a tall building away from LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes in terms of quality, gameplay or content. But it does offer a larger and more interesting roster of heroes and villains to play as. Any LEGO or Marvel fan would have to display Green Goblin levels of insanity to pass on LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. Pick it up today and save a world of bricks.